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THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON THREE...
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Various

Starring:
Andrew Lincoln
Sarah Wayne Callies
David Morrissey
Danai Gurira

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Revisit Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his ragtag group of misfits as they move into an "abandoned" penitentiary and are faced with the biggest threat so far- the Governor (David Morrissey), a charismatic leader of a "safe zone" who is essentially pretty evil.
Is it good movie?
I'll let you know right away that I'm no longer a comic comparer when it comes to this wonderful show.I really loved the comic, but in truth it's been years since I read it. This basically means I'm not one of those nitpickers who notices every minor detail and liberty that the show might take. So, if you're looking for the hardcore fan's perspective you can look elsewhere. With that said, I'm certainly informed, and have been watching the show since its inception (I even reviewed the first season here), so let's get going.

First of all, right out of the gate, I have to say that I enjoyed this season a lot, and it may arguably have been my favorite one so far. This seasons features the threat of the Governor, that jerk who is essentially the ruler of Woodbury, a small town that's been fortified to keep out the dead. Where last season tended to keep a bit of a slower, repetitive and familiar pace (for the most part), this season kicks things into high gear fairly early on and does not (I repeat, does NOT) skimp on action.

The first few episodes of this season feature some major action scenes where the crew is forced to fight off the zombie horde and these are really quite tense. I've said before that there were times when I found TWD a bit dull in terms of pace, but this season seems to have heard that complaint ring true a few times- there's buckets of blood with all kinds of killer gore and effects. Really R-rated, nasty stuff. If you were looking for more visceral nastiness, look no further. This season will satisfy you. I truly believe that the zombie killin' action featured in this season is the best stuff yet.

Of course, there's so much more to TWD than just the zombie splatter. This season has quite a few stories it weaves. Without being too spoiler-iffic, let's just say that a traumatic event has got Rick going out of his mind. HIs leadership certainly comes into question here, and the guy spends many moments in this season being portrayed as a flawed, shattered individual on the edge of insanity. I know that a lot of people didn't like Rick's issues, as they tend to push the boundaries of believability, but I was okay with it for the most part.

Arguably the biggest storyline this season involves Andrea (Laurie Holden), who found herself all alone when she was separated from the group during season 2- until Michonne (Danai Gurira) scooped her up and the ladies found refuge in solar-powered Woodbury. Of course, Michonne is skeptical about Woodbury and the Governor's motives, while Andrea winds up tangled up in the Governor's heartstrings. This makes for some pretty compelling drama, wondering who Andrea will wind up siding with, and what actions she'll take. 

Now to be fair, sometimes the writing this season wound up feeling a bit..broad, to the point where the show stops being an involved and gripping drama, and instead feels more like the source material, which is to say, more like a comic book. This is perfectly fine, if you don't mind a bit of silliness that you're expected to swallow. Sometimes, the Governor tends to be a bit less than three dimensional. He really sort of turns into a mustache-twirling villain at times, which makes him a tad goofy. Combat can be a bit questionable too, as it seems zombies can just show up when it's convenient, and just out of nowhere. I won't mention how skilled the characters tend to be at shooting zombie heads, and how terrible they are with attacking humans.

Pacing can be a bit off from time to time as well, with the first 3 or 4 episodes blazing by at a good pace, then going a bit touch and go style afterwards. The finale was a bit of an admitted letdown as well, after the build that led to it. Small things to complain about.

I don't want to go on and spoil the whole season for you, but know that this season of the Walking Dead is for the most part, a home run. They get a lot of stuff right. You'll love watching Darryl (Norman Reedus), and you'll certainly find out what happened to his brother Merle (Michael Rooker). You'll likely curse Andrea (that's all I'm going to say, I don't want to give anything away), and you'll wonder where Michonne's allegiances lie.

Of this 16 episode season, I thought that there were some excellent standouts: Seed, Walk With Me, The Suicide King, Made to Suffer and I Ain't a Judas. Again- though some people may be really divided, I thought this season certainly delivered. It's easy to nitpick, but to think that this show has suddenly fallen apart or become unwatchable (yeah, I've heard a lot of hate) seems crazy to me. The Walking Dead remains one of very, very few select shows that actually keeps me interested enough to watch each week as it airs (instead of binge-watching all at once), which is saying something. This is some awesome television!
Video / Audio
Video is presented in with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio in full 1080p. It looks fantastic, as it has with both seasons that came before it. There's a ton of gory detail (literally) that shows off the awesome effects (and sometimes spotty CG). All in all, a beautiful transfer that won't let you down.

Audio sports a near-flawless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track that is just every bit as strong as the video presentation. There's a lot of environmental noise and things like that in the walking dead, so a good audio track is important. This one mixes music, dialogue and effects brilliantly with a great sense of immersion. Excellent stuff.
The Extras
Dig Commentary tracks? There's 5 of them included with this set. Killer Within has commentary from episode director Guy Ferland and IronE (T-Dog) Singleton, Say the Word features Greg Nicotero and Danai (Michonne) Gurira, Robert Kirkman, Danai Gurira and executive producers David Alpert and Gale Anne Hurd handle Made to Suffer, Gurira, Gale and Hurd speak over The Suicide King and to round things out, Greg Nicotero and Michael Rooker provide a track on This Sorrowful Life. Naturally, the quality of these tracks vary, but it's cool to have a different perspective on the tracks that are included instead of the same people each time.

Rising Son is a short (7 minutes or so) promo piece about Chandler Riggs, the kid who plays Carl (who draws a real love/hate from TWD fans).

Evil Eye is a fluff piece (8 minutes) about the debut of the Governor.

Gone, But Not Forgotten is another 8 minute piece about the death of a certain character in the show (I'll remain spoiler free!).

Heart of a Warrior is another short character profile, this one about Michonne.

Michonne vs the Governor is a pretty self-explanatory 5 minute piece that revolves around the conflict these two characters experience this season.

Safety Behind Bars runs about 10 minutes long and is actually a cool behind the scenes look at the big prison set that was designed for this season. Interesting stuff.

Making the Dead is a pretty standard "these are the cool zombie effects" piece that interviews the makeup artists.

Guts and Glory is similar to Gone, But Not Forgotten, but instead looks at a few other character deaths. Again, I shan't ruin 'em for ya.

Finally, there are about 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes from 6 episodes (Walk With Me, Say the Word, Hounded, Home, I Ain't No Judas and Clear).
Last Call
Season 3 of The Walking Dead is a definite hit. The Blu-Ray treatment is excellent, and the show itself was mostly excellent, mixing some intense action with some fairly hefty drama (though that can be heavy-handed at times, admittedly). One thing about this show that always keeps me coming back is the feeling that no one is safe, and that one bad decision can lead to a catastrophic chain reaction that can't be undone. Sure, it isn't perfect, but TWD is a grim, dramatic, gripping, story-driven comic book zombie show (phew) that's certainly worth your time. Fans should unquestionably grab this release.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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